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Thread: Music Theory Books

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Default Music Theory Books

    I thought we needed a thread for books. I collect books on music theory. My latest purchase:

    Audacious Euphony, by Richard Cohn. Highly recommended, and probably the most important new book on music theory. Using the 19th-century Tonnetz theories, Cohn constructs a space for triads, and shows how the geometry of their space makes for smooth voice leading.

    Last edited by millionrainbows; Sep-24-2018 at 23:00.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "Everything transient is only a parable; the inadequate, this is the event; the indescribable, here it is done; the eternal feminine draws us on high." -unknown

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    This is probably the best new book on music theory we'll see for decades. The diatonic notation system, and key signatures, have for me, become just something I have to work with, work around, accommodate, and tolerate.

    I am critical of "the whole box" of academia, diatonic thinking, the dominance of the piano in out notation and key signature system, note names, and the whole lot, and want to expose it and be critical of it as well. There are newer ways of thinking about music out there, and this will be valuable to any guitarists who are unconventional enough to accept any “outside the diatonic box” ways of thinking, especially in the area of jazz and rock.

    One such source is the book “A Geometry of Music” by Dmitri Tymoczko, who, by the way, is a guitar player, and was one of those music students “alienated” by the whole system of music pedagogy. I highly recommend this book. He discusses and is very sympathetic to jazz, devoted the last chapters to it. According to him, and I agree, jazz is really the music that carried on the advancement of modern musical thinking in the twentieth century, not notated “classical” music.

    He basically rethinks music history and common practice from Medieval times onward, and extends the common practice period into the twentieth century, thus filling in a lot of the gaps , in this new approach from a fresh perspective.




    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "Everything transient is only a parable; the inadequate, this is the event; the indescribable, here it is done; the eternal feminine draws us on high." -unknown

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    Member Doctuses's Avatar
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    Would you recommend anything by Schoenberg?

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctuses View Post
    Would you recommend anything by Schoenberg?
    Oh, yeah, his Harmonielehre, definitely. I bought my hardcover many years ago, but I see it's out in softcover as well. Another book is "Style and Idea" which is a collection of his essays. BTW, the Harmonielehre contains some interesting "essays" and asides as well. Also, Structural Functions of Harmony tells about his ideas on root progressions which I found very valuable, and still ponder. This book shows one of his root charts, which is very geometric. I think he was into this way of thinking long ago, as many charts and moveable wheels (which he made) were found in his papers.



    I'm into the first part of Dmitri Tymoczko's A Geometry of Music, and I'm very pleased at the way he has 'synthesized' and brought together all the different ways of musical thought, beginning with circles (as in circle of fifths, chromatic circle) and number lines (as used in set theory). He explains how each model of visualization has its own uses, and how each one shows a different aspect. It's going to be slow going, as I want to savor and fully absorb these theoretical ideas. The second part is analysis, and looks like an easier ride.

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    Senior Member ArsMusica's Avatar
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    Dmitri Tymoczko, another hipster composer who thinks that contemporary art music needs generous infusions of jazz and rock....yeah right....

    Before anyone here considers buying his book they should read some of the reviews on Amazon.
    Last edited by ArsMusica; Oct-05-2018 at 21:39.

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    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    First chapter covers the scales...

    20181008_083317.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArsMusica View Post
    Dmitri Tymoczko, another hipster composer who thinks that contemporary art music needs generous infusions of jazz and rock....yeah right....

    Before anyone here considers buying his book they should read some of the reviews on Amazon.

    Completely wrong... You can check Tymoczko's papers (they are more written in a more strict academic style than his book )

    http://dmitri.mycpanel.princeton.edu/publications.html
    http://dmitri.mycpanel.princeton.edu...cearticle.html
    He is writing a new book on Western musical system, looks great:
    http://dmitri.mycpanel.princeton.edu...rs-manual.html



    Some good books that I like:

    The Cambridge history of Western music theory
    The forms of music - Tovey (there exist free out of copyright scan)
    From Polychords to Polya : Adventures in Musical Combinatorics - M. Keith
    Mathematical theory of music - Jedrzejewski
    Applying Karnatic Rhythmical Techniques to Western Music - R.Reina

    Mathematics and Computation in Music (series published by Springer - unfortunately, very expensive, but very interesting, if you are interested in contemporary music theory - many of the papers can be found online, uploaded by their authors.
    Knowing some basic abstract algebra is recommended (but same can be said about "musical" set theory)
    For example:
    http://sethares.engr.wisc.edu/papers...onicInstr2.pdf
    http://canonsrythmiques.free.fr/pdf/Noll-SMF_2008.pdf
    )

    Books, awarded by Society for music theory are usually great:

    https://societymusictheory.org/archive/publications

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    I've been recently studying a lot of literature on topic theory because my MA thesis partially is based on it. I think you know some of these but I would still highly recommend the following if you're interested in 18th century music:

    Leonard Ratner: Classic Music - Expression, Form, and Style (1980) The book that started the topic theory. Some of the information is a bit dated nowadays and there are some faulty interpretations. However, excellent starting point for anyone interested in a book about classic era, which heavily relies to the views of 18th century aesthetics and music theorists.

    Wye Allanbrook: Rhythmic Gesture in Mozart: 'Le Nozze di Figaro' (1983) Wonderful book, which talks about the importance of meter in dance topics of the 18th century and how Mozart incorporated them into his Figaro. Whether you like Mozart or not, this is a must read for anyone into the classical era-music.

    Kofi Agawu: Playing With Signs - A Semiotic Interpretation of Classic Music (1991) Another classic on topic theory. Besides Ratner's book, this is another good starting point.

    Robert S. Hatten: Musical Meaning in Beethoven: Markedness, Correlation, and Interpretation (1994) A book more on the semiotic side and less on music theory, nevertheless very interesting book, where Hatten extends topics from mere gestures to 'expressive genres' such as the pastoral. He also has very interesting points on the markedness of the minor mode in 18th century music. Highly recommended!

    Danuta Mirka: Oxford Handbook of Topic Theory (2014) An interesting collection of essays on the current state of topic theory. The focus of this book among other things is to tie the theory more strongly to it's historical sources.

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    I've posted this before, but it is a good one if a little dry. It's also free......

    https://archive.org/details/harmonicmaterial00hans

    This might be worth a look too....

    https://www.amazon.com/Other-Harmony...ther+Harmonies

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    I've posted this before, but it is a good one if a little dry. It's also free......

    https://archive.org/details/harmonicmaterial00hans

    This might be worth a look too....

    https://www.amazon.com/Other-Harmony...ther+Harmonies
    I love Johnson's book, strongly recommend by me as well!

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    Senior Member senza sordino's Avatar
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    Are there any academic music journals? I'm curious. If any were available I might have online access to them or I could travel to my local university and have a look. If I know the titles of these journals I would have an easier time searching for them. Does anyone know the titles of any academic music journals?

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senza sordino View Post
    Are there any academic music journals? I'm curious. If any were available I might have online access to them or I could travel to my local university and have a look. If I know the titles of these journals I would have an easier time searching for them. Does anyone know the titles of any academic music journals?
    Here's a listing.

    https://goldenpages.jpehs.co.uk/gold...sic-theorists/


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